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Can You Get a Non-Paying Tenant Out of Your Property Without a Lawsuit in Florida?

During these stressful economic times, property tenants who do not pay rent or who try to become squatters on the property of others are perhaps more common than ever. Even so, property owners are still obligated to meet their financial demands and pay the bills. If you've encountered a situation in which a non-paying tenant is occupying your property, you may be wondering whether or not you need to file a lawsuit to get him/her out. While you probably won't need to file a lawsuit, you must still follow lawful procedures in order to evict such a tenant. Section 82.045 of Florida Statutes provides a non-judicial method of getting a non-paying tenant off of a property.

What Is a Transient Occupant?

The law defines who can be called a "transient occupant" of a property. A transient occupancy is a person who is residing on a property without any sort of lease or rental agreement and who is not paying rent. The time of residence is brief, or the occupant may be eligible for property ownership through various squatter laws. This is one reason why all property owners should keep track of vacant property, visiting it often, boarding up all windows and doors, and posting "No Trespassing" signs to make it clear that someone owns the property. Otherwise, a person residing on that property for a long enough period of time may be able to claim it as his own.

The Role of Law Enforcement Officers

Section 82.045 of the Florida Statutes says that law enforcement officers may demand that a non-paying tenant leave a property simply based upon an affidavit from the actual property owner. There is no need for a lawsuit or judicial procedure, and if the non-paying tenant refuses to comply, then he can be found to be in violation of Florida's trespasser laws. Individual law enforcement agencies may have their own specific procedures for this kind of eviction, but it can be done without action from a court. Section 82.045 also provides for the legal action of an "unlawful detainer" against the transient occupant, which means that a non-paying tenant can be evicted more quickly than by a more traditional eviction procedure.

Call to Schedule a Free Consultation With a Florida Real Estate Lawyer Today

If you have concerns about evicting a non-paying tenant, call to schedule a free consultation with a Florida real estate lawyer today. The skilled legal professionals at the law firm of Smith/Barbara will answer any questions you may have and recommend the best course of action. Visit our website at smithbarbara.com or give us a call at (954) 710-0116 and speak with one of our friendly staff. We serve the states of Florida and Tennessee and we look forward to serving you.

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